Encouragement Part 1

Never Underestimate The Power Of Encouragement In Our Lives And Others

Tim Lundy
Jun 13, 2021    39m
Would the people in your life say they are encouraged by you? This message reminds us of the power of encouragement both in our lives and in the lives of others. As Christians, our source of encouragement comes from God's Word and His promises to us. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:14] Hey, Venture, we're launching Summer at Venture. It's a great time, so much going on around our church. And during the next few weeks, we just want to speak to some different subjects that we really feel like are important for the church, things that are appropriate during this time.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:31] And today, I want to speak about a subject that I think is absolutely vital. I want to tell you about the power of encouragement. Now, as I say that you might be quick to dismiss it. You might go, oh, encouragement, isn't that just being nice to each other? It really goes so much deeper than that. You know, I remember a few years ago I was at a dinner with Ray Johnston, he's the pastor of Bayside Church and there were several pastors. And as Ray was talking to us, he asked us a question. He said, apart from your time with God, your quiet time, and your time with your family, what's the most important thing you could do in your life? And different people answered. And finally, Ray answered it and it was a little bit confusing at first, I didn't expect it, but he said, you know, I think the most important thing you can do is be encouraged. And as he explained it, he put it this way, he said, think about it when you're encouraged, you're a better pastor. You're a better leader, you're a better husband, you're a better father, you have the energy to pour into those God's placed in your life. And when you get really discouraged, man, you've got nothing for anybody else. You may be a faithful pastor, you may be a faithful husband and father, but you don't have that extra that's needed to be able to pour into others.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:57] You know, there's an old saying that says hurt people, hurt people. And I might switch it out and just say, discouraged people, discourage people. Now, the inverse is true as well, encouraged people, encouraged people. And so when we talk about this topic of encouragement, especially in a time right now where so many people on this planet, in this country, are discouraged, I think it could be one of the most powerful ways that we not only experience encouragement, but even on a broader scale, we give it to others. That we're better leaders, we're better husbands and wives, we're bettering the people in our lives.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:46] Now, as we dive into this topic, I want to be really clear at the beginning here, because we talk about encouragement or discouragement, and discouragement, in particular, is a little bit different than depression. They go hand in hand a lot of times, and a season of discouragement can lead to depression. But I want to be really clear because we're talking about encouragement, discouragement, things that we often have, the emotional, even the spiritual ability to engage and overcome. But if you're experiencing true depression, many times that's physical, that's an issue where your brain, your body's, no longer producing the chemicals. You've reached a point where if you've got real depression, I'd encourage you, you need medical help. God has blessed us, and I encourage people, depression's not something you need to be ashamed of any more than any other illness, but it is something that you need to get some help, you need to talk to a counselor, you need to talk to a doctor, you may need medication. One of the greatest gifts from God is that he's given us so many medications, especially those that can help mental health. So if you're struggling with depression, let me just say at the outset here, that is something, get the help you need because God's given us these resources.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:09] Now, when we talk about discouragement or encouragement, we're talking about a topic that I'm just saying for most of us, it's what we deal with in our daily life and how do we engage that? In fact, I want to define it for you, when we talk about encouragement and the definition of it. The first definition, it's the act of giving positive support or hope. It's when you come and you give that positive support, you give positive words, you give hope to someone else. And it's not coming along after the fact, you know, a lot of times we talk about encouragement, most words that are meant to be encouraging, they really aren't, because they're kind of trite. You tell them, hey, good job, that was great. It was just something that came quick to us. The support here is, what if you came along before the fact?

Tim Lundy: [00:05:01] What if it's a daily part of life? You know, it's a core role, the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, he's described in scripture, the Greek word for is paraclete, one who comes alongside, sometimes is translated, comforter. He's that one that gives that positive support, that positive energy, that hope in our life. So that's a key part of being an encourager.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:29] A second thing, and we don't often think about this, but it's right there in the middle of it, the word courage is right in the middle of encouragement, and so a second definition is to cultivate courage and competence. It's to call out in a person the kind of courage that they need, sometimes encouragement means calling them up. Sometimes encouragement is challenging them. Sometimes encouragement is coming alongside a person and helping them see themselves in a way they can't and helping them have the courage to face what God called them to face, what they're going through in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:08] I want you to hear in this because so often we reduce encouragement and encouragers, they're just nice people. Oh, nicest guy in the world, he always has something pleasant to say, we think it's being pleasant. And in that moment, we're discounting the power of encouragement, but we're also excluding ourselves because it's easy to look at it go, well, I'm just not that kind of person. I'm not a real positive person, I'm more a realist. Guys, here's what you need to hear, this role of encouragement, the kind of encouragement that Scripture is going to call us to, that I'm calling you to today, it's not based on personality, it's not based on whether you're just a happy-clappy person and you always have nice things to say, that may not be you at all. And frankly, most people need a whole lot more than that. They need the men, the women, the young people, the people that are in their life, living this out, bringing the kind of positive support they need. They need someone to help them have the courage and the confidence in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:20] And I say this because, I mean, you look at the stats of what's going on in our country, the alarming rate with it, when the suicide rate for 18 to 34 year old’s is higher than the homicide rate, that's a problem. When you look at how many people, I was alarmed, I read recently that 29 percent of pastors are considering leaving their church, they're so discouraged right now. And that's just the sector I'm aware of. If you look across the board, you see this in so many ways? That's why I believe this is so vital and that we have to understand it.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:59] So how do we understand encouragement, as we think about it? Well, the first thing you need to realize, the most powerful source of encouragement is actually a relationship with God, it begins with our relationship with God. And if you don't have that relationship, you're missing at a soul level, what God wants to bring. Look how Paul describes it, I love in Second Thessalonians, he says, "May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father." He's talking to God the Father and Jesus Christ. I already told you, the core role of the Holy Spirit is he's the [inaudible, he's an encourager. But this is also the Ministry of Jesus Christ, it's also the ministry of God, the father. Look what they did, "Who loved us and gave us..." And he's describing our salvation here, but we don't often think about it in these terms, we think about a belief system, and we get to go to heaven. Look how he says, "He gave us eternal encouragement and good hope." That's part of your relationship with Christ. Paul says it's eternal encouragement. It's that kind of confidence, and encouragement, and courage that it's eternal, it's yours forever because of what Christ has done. He says, "He encourages your hearts and strengthens you in every good deed and word." So it's not just what he did in that moment of salvation, it's what God continues to do in our life.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:29] That's why I'd encourage you, if you don't have a relationship with Christ, one of the core things and I don't know how to describe it unless you've experienced it, but one of the core things he does in our life is he gives us an encouragement at a soul level of our standing with him, of who we are. That we no longer live life every day based on our circumstances, we can define our lives, we can define our future based on who Christ is, based on who he says we are. It just makes such a difference at a soul level, and then to know that he's with us in the hardest parts of life.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:13] Now, I love in Joshua chapter 1, Joshua has just taken over Moses is dead, Joshua is leading the people for the first time. He's so nervous, they're about to go into the land, they're about to face real enemies, I love the promise that God gives him. Look in Joshua 1:9, he says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid." He's doing that part of encouragement where he's calling him up, "Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” He says, hey, Joshua, you can be strong. Joshua, you don't have to be afraid. Joshua, you can lead these people. And then notice that command, you don't have to be discouraged. Why? Because God is with you. I would encourage you, if you don't have that kind of relationship with God, you need it through Christ, you need to experience this.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:09] And I would challenge you if you are a Christian, if you're a follower of Christ, one of the worst witnesses we could have in the world is when Christians are the most discouraging people out there, when Christians are the most negative, when Christians live this woe is me, it is actually antithetical, it's the exact opposite of what Christ has done in our lives. We need to be the people, doesn't mean that we walk around happy-clappy, and everything's happy, because you may be going through hard times and real sadness in life. I'm not telling you to fake where you are, but Christian joy is not based on those circumstances, and the Christian attitude, and the Christian ability, to not only be encouraged but also be an encourager at a fundamental level it's based on what Christ has done in our life. And God promises that he'll continue to encourage us and that he'll be with us.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:09] Now, to experience that, though, look at the second point. Ongoing encouragement comes as we interact with God through the Bible in prayer. This is where the Bible and prayer become so important in your daily life. So, again, we often reduce oh, you need the Bible and prayer, you need to have a quiet time, and it's kind of this checklist thing that you need to do. What we fail to realize, is it's this fundamental resource where God looks at it says, man, I want to encourage you, I want to pour into you, I want to give you at a soul level what you desperately need, and I've given you these resources.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:46] Again, look how Paul puts it in Romans 15. He says, "For everything that was written in the past." He's talking about the Bible, "Was written to teach us." Now, we often stop there, yes, I need to learn more, that's why I read the Bible so that I can learn more information. That's not what Paul says, though, look what he says, "So that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope." Isn't that interesting, see, we often just stop here and go, yeah, you're supposed to read the Bible so you can learn more information. Paul goes, no, no, no, no, you're missing it, man. As you read the Scripture, it gives you endurance, oh, man, I can persevere with what I'm going through. As you read it, it gives you encouragement that's based on hope.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:35] I'm going to tell you; I can't tell you how many times this has been true in my life. How many times I'll be going through something, or I'm discouraged, and I'll have just kind of a daily reading plan. And whatever the verse was that day, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes it's just the encouragement that comes in the Book of Psalms as a Psalmist is just crying out. Sometimes it's in the Book of Proverbs, the practical wisdom. Sometimes just read to the Gospels, I read about Jesus and his interactions. Sometimes it's just reading those commands and the teaching that comes in the later books in the New Testament. It doesn't matter the part of it, it's not just information that I'm trying to learn, it's that encouragement that I needed in the moment.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:22] And then you add the other element with that, it's not only God speaking through scripture, but he gives us the opportunity to speak to him, and I'm talking about prayer here. And one of my favorite verses of prayer is in First Peter, it says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." I mean, all that stuff, all the parts of life that are there are making you anxious, all the things that discourage you, the things that people have said, that people have done, he says, take all of that and give it to him because he cares for you.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:00] Folks, I'm going to tell you, this is so fundamental and I would just challenge you if you find yourself in a time of discouragement...Because I've done this, a lot of times, I'll find myself really discouraged or I'll find myself down, sometimes it's based on circumstances, but I'll look at it and it is often based on the fact that my time in the Word has gone way down, my time in prayer is gone down. And when you stop those fundamental disciplines in your life, when you stop taking advantage of the resources, man, it's very easy for the discouragement of the world to catch up with you. It's like anything else, if you stop exercising, you won't have as much energy. If you stop eating right, you're going to see your body pay the price for it. If you stop using your brain, you lose the elasticity, you lose function. And I'd say in the same way, if you stop engaging on a daily level with the Living Word, with the Bible, and with prayer, it is just fundamental, you're going to start losing that hope and that spiritual encouragement that we all need.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:11] Now, there's a third element to it, though, we are commanded to encourage each other as a regular part of our life. This isn't just an optional thing, if we're followers of Christ and he's doing this ministry in us, and he's pointing it out through his word, and we have both through the Bible and prayer, he also says, I want this is something you do in each other's life as a regular part of it. The writer Hebrews says it this way. He says, "Encourage one another (look at that) daily." And then I love the way he continues, "As long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." He says every day when you look upon the calendar and you would say, it's today. Okay, what should I be doing today? I should be encouraging somebody else. Every single day, why? Because every single day he talks about sins and deceitfulness, there's this world system, there are these other voices, there's an enemy called Satan. One of his favorite tools is discouragement, one of his favorite things to do is just wear people down. And so every day people are experiencing that, so they need to experience from you and me the kind of encouragement that brings hope, that brings courage, that brings a confidence about what God is and what God has done in their lives. I would encourage you, that deceitfulness of sin, man, it's out there. I mean, the deceitfulness of comparison, when you start comparing yourself to other people's lives or experiences. The deceitfulness of feeling like just the discouragement of what's going on in the world.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:03] I would say, you know, one of the most discouraging tools out there is right here in my hand. I don't say this against the phone, I use it. But, you know, we spend so much time on social media, we spend so much time, and you're getting these messages all the time. And it would be good to ask yourself every so often when you get off of, whether it's the computer, whether it's the phone, whether it's a device, and you spent those hours and you spent that time and you've been immersed in all that, do you stop that time more encouraged or more discouraged? You know, most studies say, you're discouraged, it's just not healthy. And if we don't have the voices of real people speaking in our lives.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:49] In fact, that's why Hebrews continues on, look what it says, "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." He says we've got to consider; you think about this, how do we spur one another on? So it's not just saying nice things to each other, sometimes you need to stir each other up. Sometimes you need to come alongside and say, hey, I need to speak into your life. But you can keep meeting together, that personal interaction. And the writer Hebrews says, man, some are already in the habit of doing that now, they no longer meet with us, they no longer come together, but we need each other to encourage each other that much more. And honestly, I think over the last year and a half, we have lived this out like few of the verses. I mean, the inability to get together, the inability to be with other people, the inability to worship here together, some of the things maybe, frankly, we take for granted. Now, hear me, one of the things I love, I love that we can bring this message to you digitally. I love the tools that we have to send this out. We've got people in our church now, they don't even live in the area, we have people joining our church from other states in that. And so I'm so thankful we can connect with you, but I tell you, I don't want that connection to ever replace the personal connection that we need.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:27] That's why I'm so thankful that we'll be able to come and to worship together, you know, when we started doing live services out in the tent and we're continuing there, and soon we're going to be back in the worship center. But people that started coming to the services, almost every week, here's what I'd hear from somebody. After the service is over, they kind of come up and they go, I didn't realize how much I needed this, I didn't realize the power of this in my life. And here's what they were saying, they weren't talking about the sermon, you can get a sermon digitally pretty easily. They were talking about the whole experience of worshipping together, being in the presence of God, of engaging in that. And so, whether you do that as a family, whether you do that as maybe a home group, whether we do that with the thousands we hope to have back here soon, in each of those forms, the power of needing other people, of looking for those ways that we can step into and speak into each other's lives is so important, and I would encourage you in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:35] The next point I would say with this then, is the most powerful encouragement comes when the right words are given by the right person at the right time. And this is where I'd want you, when it said in Hebrews we're to consider, to think about, if you really want to have a ministry of encouragement, if you want to be a person instead of just taking in, you're actually pouring out, it might be wise of you to take some time and think through, okay, the right words, it's the right person, and the right time.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:11] Look how Proverbs puts it, a couple of them, it says, "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." When you experience those words, it's like eating honey, and there's health that it brings. I love this one in Proverbs as well, it says, “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man." Look at this line, "A word in season, how good it is!" A word rightly spoken, that word that came just at the right time. And I think that's that part of encouragement, is knowing how to give that word, to give that word in season. Maybe to give that word in that unexpected way, that word to somebody that they've not received it from you. Sometimes when you hear something a lot, you can kind of start taking it for granted in different ways.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:05] I think about it, every so often I'll say to Lea, my wife, I'll just say, oh, man, you look beautiful. And she's always appreciative, but sometimes she kind of discounts it. And I'll say, what? And she said, well, you have to say that you're my husband, so you have to say that. And when she says something like that, I always kind of respond to her, okay, you're right, you caught me, you're actually hideous. I was just doing my duty, just trying to be a nice guy. Now, I kind of do the reverse on purpose because I want her to know, man, I think you're beautiful. And I'm glad that she's used to me saying that. You know, it's interesting if my kids ever speak up, if one of them kind of comments, Mom, you look awesome today. Man, she brightens up, because it's unexpected from them. I mean, they're teenagers for the most part, and they kind of focused on their world, but when they give that, when they get outside of themselves, they give that, she really feels that at a deep level. I think the same is true for all of us, it's that right word, maybe that unexpected word, especially, and this is particularly true, when it comes from somebody either you really respect or somebody that's really close to you. Man, when you have a boss, or you have somebody that you respect in your life, and they noticed and they said that. And so that's what I'd encourage you, if you have a position of authority in any way. part of stewarding that position well is how do you steward the power of your encouragement? That's words between spouses are so powerful, somebody who knows you so well, somebody you love so much. Guy's an encouraging word can go so deep, but discouraging can cut just as deep as well.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:59] You know, it's interesting in Scripture, and I just say this for those of us who are dads, we need to realize the power that we have as fathers, it's a powerful role. And over the years, as I've done ministry, as I've talked to different people, as I've counseled couples, it's always surprising to me how often so many issues go back to a wound that came from a father. A father who wasn't there, who didn't speak into a life, or a father who hurt. You know, Colossians, the Apostle Paul warns us, he says, "Fathers, do not embitter your children." And look, and this is a warning to dads, this isn't to dads and moms, to dads in particular, he says, "We have the ability to really discourage them." Sometimes as dads, when we focus only on what they could have done better, we kind of qualify it always with a yeah, but. And maybe it's that natural propensity of dads that we want to push our kids on, and we want them to excel. But are they hearing encouragement from us, are they hearing the power of our words to be able to speak into their life?

Tim Lundy: [00:26:29] See, a right word, in the right time, from the right person, it can have an impact that lasts even for a lifetime. I know it's true in my life, as I was preparing for this, I can think of different people who spoke into my life at just the right time. And I think of it especially for me, you know, when my dad died when I was six years old, and my stepfather was not a very vocal person, he was pretty passive, so I really wasn't looking to him for many words in my life. I remember I had a teacher in high school, Mr. Eddie, I was in the band, I was not in a band. If you're in a band, you kind of play guitar and you're kind of cool, girls really like you. I was in the band, you wear a uniform, I played trumpet, girls aren't really impressed by you as much if you're in the band, unfortunately. But one of the things I loved about being in the band is Mr. Eddie, the band director, was one of the coolest teachers in school, so, everybody like being around him. And during my high school years in particular, I just think that so many times he invested in me, spoke into my life, I love being around him.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:35] I remember I was in the 11th grade. it was the end of the year and having an all-school assembly, giving out awards for each of the departments. And Mr. Eddie was about to go, we were standing together, and I was just over with him against the wall, and we would hang out together a lot of times. He was about to go up to present the award for Band Member of the Year. And I asked him, I was like who are you presenting it to. And he said, I'm giving it to Jennifer, he always picked a senior to give it to. And I said, Oh yeah, that's a great choice. He said, you know, I struggled this year. I almost gave this award to you. And I kind of laughed, that's like me. And I said to him, Mr. Eddie, we both know I'm an OK musician, I'm not that great. And I'll never forget, he looked at me and kind of put his hand on my shoulder and he says, you don't get it, do you? He said, I've got a lot of musicians, but you're a leader, and I don't have a lot of leaders, that's what made me almost give you this award, even though you're a junior. With that, he walked up and presented the award. Man, I can remember that day like it was today, I can remember those words. And for a young man who's desperate to figure out who he is, who desperately needs that kind of courage spoken into his life. I mean, in a lot of ways, those words change the trajectory of at least how I saw myself, of how it went forward in life. I bet Mr. Eddie doesn't even remember that day, but you know I'll never forget it because I know the impact of it. And when I think about that, we have to ask ourselves, how are we impacting others? How are we living this out?

Tim Lundy: [00:29:44] Final point I'd just say on this topic, true encouragers have a legacy that lives beyond the moment. There's a legacy that goes on in people's lives, there's a legacy that they carry that you may think you just did in the moment, you don't realize the impact that continues with that. You know, one of the best examples of this in the Bible is a guy named Barnabus. We know Barnabus, he's in the New Testament. You know Barnabus is actually not his real name, it's a nickname. Look in Acts Chapter 4, his name is Joseph, "Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement)." And so this guy, Joseph, was so encouraging, the apostles, they didn't call him by his real name, they said, no, no, no, you're Barnabus, you're the son of encouragement, you're the walking embodiment of what this looks like. As you read through the New Testament, it's interesting, this guy, Barnabus, I mean, he wasn't one of the apostles, he's not listed up there with pantheon of the other names, but he had unbelievable impact. He was one of the first guys in the early church, he donated a big piece of land to the church. He's on the first ones that stepped forward and said, man, I'm going to do some radical generosity. And the impact, and the encouragement, that was to the church. He was the guy that when Saul, this guy who had been persecuting the church, came back in and had found Jesus on the way to Damascus, nobody else wanted to touch Saul. Barnabus went and found him and said, I'll vouch for you. He was one of the first missionaries that was sent out with Paul. He was the guy that when John Mark blew it, Barnabus said, no, no, I'm not done with him, and he mentored him. You know, it's interesting to me, Barnabus never wrote a book in the Bible, but one-third of the New Testament was written by guys that he mentored, that he poured his life into, unbelievable legacy.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:06] See, I'd encourage you, because people need encouragement. And encouraged people, encourage people. That's why we need that relationship with God. That's why we need it through his word. That's why we need to meet with each other. That's why we need to think about, man, when can I speak that word? When can I show up at the right time? Who is in my sphere that God's calling me to, that I could impact? And you have no idea the legacy of that moment, the legacy in their life.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:43] So as we finish out, I'm just going to ask you to do a little encouragement assessment right now. Just some questions for you, questions for me as well.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:52] Here's the first one, would you say that you are encouraged right now? Just be honest, and then ask yourself, why or why not? What is going on in my life that keeps me from being encouraged? And maybe you have real circumstances, you go, Tim, if you knew what was going on, you would know how hard it is right now, and I don't discount that. But I do know there's a spiritual work that God can do, that we are not defined by our circumstances, we're defined by our Savior. We're defined by what he says about us, what he does in us.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:31] Secondly, I just added it, are you regularly seeking encouragement from God? Man, do you go to the Bible and prayer, and maybe you have a daily quiet time, but you never approach it as a time of encouragement. You always approach it as a time of reading, a time of learning, a time of good things. But do you ever stop when you open the Bible and go, man, I need some encouragement right now, God, man, I need you to speak in my life. God, I need to unload this anxiety I'm carrying, because you told me you actually care about my life. So since you care for me, I'm going to give this to you.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:09] Third thing with this, would you say that you were encouraging to the people closest to you? And this might be a good one to think about the people in your life, and just think maybe on a scale of 1 to 10, how encouraging are you? You can maybe use that hospital scale, have you ever been in a hospital room when it says the pain scale, and instead of just numbers, they have the smiley face or the frown face? Maybe think about the people in your life and your impact on them, do you make them smile? Do you give them life, or do you pull from them, are you taking from them? Again, it's just good to be honest about the impact we're having on others.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:57] And then if you want to get real practical, here's the last one, as you think of each person in your life, in your sphere, what is one thing you could do consistently to encourage him or her? Maybe just list them out and think through it, what's one thing I could do for this person on a consistent basis? See, we don't want this to be this kind of thing we do every so often. Remember the writer of Hebrews? He says you need to do it as long as it's called today, because somebody needs it today. Somebody in your life, in your world, they need it, and the impact will go beyond what you can even fathom in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:43] I'll close with a story, it's an old story that John Trent tells, a true story. It was actually originally told by teacher, Sister Helen. And she described on a Friday afternoon she had reached her end with this junior high math class. And one student in the class, particularly, Mark, was always troublesome. SO, finally she said, we're going to take a break, I want everybody just sit down. I want you to take out a piece of paper, write everybody's name on the paper in the class. And then next to their name, I want you to write something encouraging about them, something that you admire, something positive. And we're going to spend the rest of the class, you do that, turn them in and then I'll compile everybody's list. And so she took the list, and then she made for each student a sheet of paper what everybody in the class had said about him and gave it to. Years later, Mark was killed in the Vietnam War, and Sister Helen went to the funeral.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:47] And after the funeral, several of the classmates and Sister Helen went over to Mark's parent's house for a reception and lunch. In the middle of the lunch, Mark's dad pulled out this old wallet, he said this was on Mark when he died. And in the wallet, he pulled out a piece of paper, that over the years had been folded and folded and folded. It was that list of things that his classmates had said. One of the other guys spoke up, Charlie, he said, yeah, I keep mine in my desk drawer, I can't tell you how many times at work I pull it out. Chuck's wife said, Chuck, put ours in our wedding album, he wanted it kept there, special. Valerie pulled hers out of her purse. Every single one of them, this one little simple exercise, had an impact.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:50] I don't think we realize the power that God's given us, the power of encouragement. And as Christians, it's not just this good thing that we do, it's a fundamental ministry that he's called us to in each other's lives. Would the people in your life say they are encouraged because of you? If not, start today. And if you don't have that kind of encouragement to even give, then ask God for it today. He's promised to give it, he loves to pour it out, because he knows the power it has on the people all around us.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:39] Let's pray. Father, I thank you, I thank you for the encouragement you give us personally. I thank you that as we read through your word, it's literally a ministry of the Trinity, that you as Father encourage, that Christ gives us encouragement, that the Holy Spirit is paraclete comes alongside and encourages us. Lord, I pray for anybody today hearing this that needs that encouragement. Maybe they don't have a relationship with you, I pray they would seek it today. And for those of us who do, Lord, I pray we would take seriously what you've called us to in this. We live in a world that's desperate for it, may we be the light bearers, may we be the people that give to others what you have given us. And we pray this in Christ' name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032